If my tenant broke the hot tub but doesn’t want to pay for it, can I use the security deposit?

UPDATED: Aug 14, 2011

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If my tenant broke the hot tub but doesn’t want to pay for it, can I use the security deposit?

My tenant moved out and new people moved in. They say the hot tub doesn’t work and I verified this. I talked to the previous tenants and they say that the hot tub worked just fine the last time they used it. I wrote in the lease that they are responsible for it so I’m planning on taking it out of their security deposit. Is that wrong to do?

Asked on August 14, 2011 Pennsylvania


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Can you prove that your prior tenant actually broke the hot tub during his or her occupancy of the rented unit? Or, did the hot tub quit working just because of some malfunction during the term of the prior tenant?

Did you test the hot tub right after the former tenant moved out and before the new tenant moved in?

My concern is that you really have no idea how the hot tub malfunctioned and when it did. Likewise, it seems that you have no idea why the hot tub broke. Was it abused or did it simply break as a result of normal wear and tear?

From what you have written, it seems that you do not have a factual basis to debit the former tenant's security deposit with the cost of repairing the hot tub.

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